Rothiesholm Head, Stronsay, Orkney Islands
In September 1808 the body of a large and strange sea creature was washed ashore at Rothiesholm Head on the island of Stronsay. After reading the testimony of the witnesses and inspecting preserved body parts of the beast, the Edinburgh comparative anatomist John Barclay proclaimed that it was indeed a specimen of the ‘great sea serpent’. Not everyone agreed, however, and Everard Home, a renowned London surgeon and comparative anatomist, identified the animal as a decomposing basking shark. Although Home was almost certainly correct, the ‘Stronsay Beast’ still features in many books and documentaries as evidence for the existence of large sea creatures unknown to science. If you would like to know more, you can more information on the story of the Stronsay Beast here:
This page is part of Coastal Knowledge, an online exhibition mapping some of the amazing places on the coast of Scotland. It includes pictures, memories, artworks, stories and videos submitted by a variety of people including scientists, artists, coastal dwellers, tourists, and community organisations. We want to share the beauty of the Scottish coast, but also its vital role in the day-to-day lives of people in Scotland- for example, its many industrial roles.
This exhibition is dynamic and ongoing- and we’d love for you to share contributions for it too! To learn more and submit your own coastal knowledge, visit the main page of the exhibition.